Friday, November 30, 2012

While I was Gone

This week I was in Iowa for a work conference.

While I was gone, my husband worked a bit on getting the flooring ready.

He started with laying down the padding.  

Peyton is our curious girl.  She is always so intrigued with what we are doing. Her name should just be Curious.  And she always wants to help by pawing anything we're doing.  So she was the official inspector of the padding.
Petyon is inspecting his work.

Then he laid the first boards down to get an idea of what needs to be cut and where.  When I came home my husband gave me a big hug.  I then had to greet all our furbabies as they told me how much they missed me.  Then my husband grabbed my hand and he rushed me upstairs to show me what he had been up to.  He was so proud and kept skidding across the floor in his socks.  He's adorable that way!
This is what I got to come home to seeing late last night.
We are getting closer.  Hopefully, we can get it all done this weekend.

That's all I've got as a teaser for now!  We're inching closer and closer.  I'm very excited!
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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Painting the Town Red

It's been a crazy Thanksgiving holiday.

During the short work week I have been very busy getting things done at work in time for the holiday.  Especially since I'd be in Iowa for work the following week.

Wednesday afternoon my husband calls me at work saying his car is down and he's stuck on the highway.  I can't get away from work.  I tell him, he is on the other side of town and to try calling my mom as she lives over there.  Luckily, she was able to come to his rescue.  He thought it was his battery but it was his alternator.  He was able to drive it to his father's house and try to work on it there, when he had time, which wouldn't be until Saturday.  In the mean time, he'd have to borrow his father's van.   

Then Thanksgiving came.  We usually have it at Kay's (my mother-in-law) house, but as she passed away this summer, we decided to have it at my sister-in-law's house.  It was very different.  It was very hard for my father-in-law.  He was asleep most of the time as he is trying to recover from a massive heart attack.  He is still needing 24/7 care, so my husband and his sister have been taking shifts.  It's been very hard on them.  Regardless, we are so thankful that he is alive and sharing this time with us.  His children need him more than he knows.

The Friday after Thanksgiving, my husband had to go to work.  Luckily, I didn't.  However, there were a lot of errands to be done.  One of them, picking up the paint!!  Who knew red would be a hard color to find.  It's either very brownish-grown-up-type-of-red or an orangy-red.  Not the true red I think of when I think red.  We picked "Candy Apple" a color by Glidden.


Most people go for pinks, purples, or pastel hues.  Sometimes pink with black or some muted tones.  Nope, not us.  We're going all out red, baby!  It will look feminine.  I promise.  But subtle isn't in our vocabulary.  Once the whole room is together it should tie in beautifully.

Friday was great.  I got laundry done; I got some Christmas up; I cleaned the kitchen; I felt very productive.  I easily crashed that night in bed.

Saturday Ms. D came over and we started painting the room.  We only had to paint the top half of the walls as wainscot was being put on the lower half.  The wet paint looked like hot pink.  Putting it on the walls, it dried in so many layers, it looked awful.  We knew this paint would need many, many coats to look the deep red I envisioned.  It took forever to put up the first coat.  It took over half a can, and as I mentioned before we were only painting the top half of an average sized room.  We then did the second coat.  It went so much faster and looked so much better.  It'd still need more coats, but it was easier to see the vision.

Ms. D had to leave after that and I proceeded to put up the 3rd coat by myself.  Needless to say, that coat took a long time.  Much faster with 2 people.  I then proceeded to do the fourth coat.  My husband came home at that time, it was really late that night.  What was great was with borrowing the van he was able to pick up the crib.  We now have it all wrapped up in pieces in our living room. It is so beautiful.  I can't wait to assemble it.

He had worked four hours getting the alternator fixed.  He had his cousin to help him.  But he told me how they were both just so cold.  The garage he worked in just didn't keep him warm.  He went to soak in a hot bath.

After he warmed up, my wonderful husband proceeded to help me paint the fourth coat.  He then got on his knees on the unpainted bottom of the wall and wrote "Ashton" in all caps across the wall.  He was very excited about his little touch.  The fourth coat is about all the walls needed.  There are still some touch ups with corners and with the top trimming, but other then that it's good to go. 


Photo doesn't do the color justice.

It is really a beautiful red.  The darker portion and less orangy-part is more true to color.  I took multiple photos and it was so hard to get it to look like it does in person.  But trust me, it's an amazing color.  Of course once all the pieces are together and the theme tied in, it will look beautiful.

Today my husband is with his dad until I leave.  We said our goodbyes this morning.  It was nice to see him for the few hours last night and this morning.  Since his father's heart attack, i haven't seen much of him, and when I do he is so exhausted.  He doesn't sleep much when he is watching his dad.  We're hoping the physical therapy will work.  My father-in-law is loosing so much weight and he is in so much pain.  I pray he gets healthy soon.

While I'm in Iowa for work all this week, my husband can't watch his dad as he has to watch our fur babies while I'm gone.  I know this may be hard for him, but I think it's also healthy for him.  He needs a break and some sleep.  

What surprised me is that he said during this time he said he'd start working on her flooring!!  Fine by me!  Yay!

I might have a floor when I get home.  I'm not holding my breath for the wainscoting, but I'm so excited that we're moving forward.  Even if the flooring doesn't get completed, I won't care.  For us to get anything moving, especially with all the hurdles this year, I'm happy to have anything.

This will be a hard week while I'm in Iowa.  It's just hard because of the strain it puts on my husband and wanting to help with the floor.  I'd rather be here letting him be with his father and helping with our Ashton projects, now that we've finally started.

I don't know if I'll be too exhausted from travel (we're driving not flying) from Iowa, but I hope this weekend I will be up for getting more done in her room.  I think I'll feel closer to her when it does happen.
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Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Nesting Has Begun!!

It's been a VERY interesting weekend.  Very busy too.  

First off, "Man of La Mancha" was a hit.  It had a great opening weekend!  Everyone who was involved with it is very tired, but very happy.  Only 2 more weekends left of the show!

As for my father-in-law, as of yesterday he's having better days.  He's not wheezing and coughing up as much.  He still wobbly  but seems to be getting around better.  He just started physical therapy on Friday.  So we're hoping that this is a sign that things are improving.  He still needs to be watched 24/7, but we're hoping there is an end in sight for that.

My husband has taken many days/nights watching over his dad.  So has his sister.  Now and then he'll get a couple nights off, and one weekend day to himself.  So Friday night, he was supposed to be with his father, but his sister insisted he go home.  So after the musical I got home late and we talked about trying to get life in order.  Ashton's life that is.

So Saturday, we went to a flooring place and bought Ashton's floor!!!  (Loud fainting sound of body hitting the floor here!!)  It's not the dark, dark wood I dreamed of, but it was cheap, durable, bamboo, and still beautiful.  So we've taken a step closer.  It's got a lot of character and we think it will still go nicely with the red of her room.   
It's a burled bamboo flooring!

It's dark, light, so many colors in one!
Then we rushed over to his father's house and watched him for about 5 hours.  Then we came home.  I had the musical to go to that night, but knew they could do without me for a few performances here and there.  I had to take advantage of when my husband was home.  So I didn't go Saturday night, and instead worked on my girl's room - finally!!

So we went into Ashton's room and removed all the furniture from the room.   (It's all in either our spare bedroom/exercise room and our bedroom).  It's not a pretty sight.  Then we started ripping out the carpet.  I tore out the flooring staples and tack strips.  My husband tore out all the floorboards and trim.
Looking from her door, with window looking out to the woods and closet to the right.

Looking at from the back wall towards the front of her room.
It was an exhausting night, but SO WORTH IT!!!  
Sunday he had to get back to his father, as his shift is from Sunday to Tuesday morning.  I have him back Tuesday night.  But before he left, I mentioned to him I had this urge to go to a baby store to see if cribs were on sale for Thanksgiving.  I wanted to go back to the baby decor shop where we picked up Ashton's first piece of furniture.


We got there and there was a huge sale going on.  They just came back from a trade show and bought many of the model/display furniture there and was selling it for over 50% off!!  It was new furniture!  So we looked for anything that would match our decor and spotted a crib that would be perfect.  We were very excited.  We didn't have a big enough vehicle to bring it home, so we said we'd come back after Thanksgiving to get it.  We are so excited!!  We hope it's the right shade to match the furniture.  If not, we'll paint it.  But it definitely matches the look and feel.  I can't wait to see it with the other furniture.

While my husband is gone, he gave me homework.  I have to sand the walls.  (He spackled over the nail holes).  Then I have to shop-vac the flooring.  It's all covered in nails, dust, floor bits and things.

Then my good friend, Ms. D said she'd come over Saturday to help paint her room!  We're actually getting things going!!  She's going to have a room!  

Once we're done painting, we can lay down the floor!  Maybe Saturday night?  I could be pushing it there, but it's a possibility if the room painting gets done and drys fast enough.

It's been a crazy, but good weekend.  We got the flooring, we've begun in her room, and FINALLY bought a crib.  Merry Christmas to us early!!  I can't wait for  Saturday to see the red walls!
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Friday, November 16, 2012

JSC Foundation


I just got a letter from the JSC Foundation today.  We applied for a grant hoping they would help us unite our family.

I just got a letter today from them saying the genuinely regret that they were unable to offer financial support for our adoption.

I then take it it wasn't in God's plan.  I don't know what it is, but it's not that path, which we hoped would help us.  It is hard to to be disheartened, but I have to have faith that it will work out somehow.

However, my husband asked what we did wrong.  Like maybe our statement of faith wasn't faithful enough, or that we aren't Christian enough or something.  I know that's not what he meant, but I really hope it wasn't an error on our part.  I don't want that doubt.  I want to believe it's because we were meant for another avenue.

I do worry about the finances.  Adoption isn't easy or cheap.  But you can't put a price on having a child.  I wish there was a way people who pay all their bills on time and have great credit could take a loan out for adoption like you can a car.  

I does make me worry more, but I know it's all in God's hands.  I just have to remain hopeful, faithful, and persistent in our savings to get our girl to us.

JSC Foundation is a great foundation and I don't feel ill towards them in the least.  I just pray that the other families they were able to help, who we in desperate need get to unite their families quicker and easier.

If nothing else, I hope this blog post steers a family into asking JSC for grant assistance, where maybe they didn't know about them before, and receive a grant.  That would be a true blessing.
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

God's Plan


It's been very busy this week.  I've gone to work to musical rehearsal every day.  I've been getting home late and I'm exhausted.  But this is nothing.

My father-i-law isn't doing well.  My husband says it's like taking care of a 185 pound baby.  He needs assistance to walk, to get dressed, and during his doctor's appointment today they said he has a clot in his lungs.  He has a pulmonary embolism.  He hasn't gotten any more strength and is tired all the time.  We are all very worried about him

We've had our prayer warriors praying.  But the more the better!  Keep him in your prayers.  Every little bit counts.  I know God has a plan.  We hope it's for him to stay and be healthy.  But whatever His plan, I really hope for peace for them all.  This has been so taxing on their family.  He needs 24/7 care. 

He is still going through tests now with the doctor.  Let's hope there is something hopeful in all of this, or something that can be done.  He's so tired and needs help as he's wobbly.  This was a strong, independent, and happy man when Kay was alive.  We would love to have him back.  Even if he needs care, we'd love for his spark to be back.  Please pray for him and the family.  And pray we understand God's plan for him.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Making It Easier!



This can't be any easier!  Please go to https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/support-hr-4373-and-s-3616-help-make-adoption-affordable-keep-tax-credit-and-make-it-refundable/GknZZR2H to support the tax credit and make it refundable.


The average cost to adopt a child is any where from $25k- $35k or more. Currently, The 2012 Tax Credit is not refundable for adoptions initiated after 2011, which means a large number of families are/were not able to get any of the $25k- $35k back and possibly prevent people from adopting a child at all.

In 2013 it will revert back to a maximum tax credit of $6,000 for parents adopting children with special needs only and there will be no adoption tax credit available in tax year 2013.

We are petitioning to make the adoption tax credit permanent and refundable, so that more money is available to families allowing them provide a financially stable home to the adopted child.

Currently, there are two bills HR 4373 and S3616 that support this petition.

By clicking the link above you can sign the petition to show it's important to you, to show your voice, to show that adoption is important - family is important.  It only takes a moment!  Show your support!


Even like them on facebook!



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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Released From the Hospital



Saturday, my father-in-law was released from the hospital.  Everyone was so thankful.

When everyone arrived to his house, neighbors were already mowing the yard, raking leaves, and we started water sealing the front porch.

The weather was an unbelievable 60 degrees!!!  We loved it, and he sat out on a lawn chair and just watched supervised.

Right now I'm at home taking care of the fur babies while my husband is staying with his father, as he isn't allowed to drive and must be watched 24/7 for a while to make sure everything is okay.

1/3 of his heart no longer works, so there is talks of a possibility of a pace maker.  We'll know more on his next visit to the doctor.

Also, it it tech week or hell week of the musical.  It opens this Friday night.  I took a few nights off from the musical to be there for my family, but today started back in the game.  I helped with light and sound cues today.  It seems like so much has already happened in my absence.  It'll be an amazing musical.

Tomorrow the weather will drop back down to normal and it will be a busy week until opening night.  Then it'll be Thanksgiving before you know it!  We usually spend it at my mother-in-law's house.  But this year is the first year we're going somewhere different.  We're going to my sister-in-law's house instead.  And instead of Kay fixing everything, my husband and sister will make the meal.  It'll be a different but I'm sure beautiful Thanksgiving.
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Friday, November 9, 2012

Help Save the Adoption Tax Credit - It's Easy!


I mentioned this in January, but it's worth mentioning again.  As this is National Adoption Month, I know a lot of you can't sponsor a child and wish there was something you could do.  Well, here it is!

If Congress does not act to extend the federal adoption tax credit this year, the credit as we now know it will expire on December 31, 2012. If no action is taken, families who adopt internationally will receive no benefit at all!

Then please take the time to COPY this letter and submit to your senator and representative here.  I did!

Please contact your Representative and/or Senator by clicking one of the links below:
https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Here is a sample letter you can use to send them.  It really takes no time at all and 1 more voice could make a difference.  And maybe that difference is you.  And that one voice isn't just helping me, but families all over the nation that have adoption in their hearts.


Please note if you are writing to your representative, ask for co-sponsorship of H.R. 4373 (the House bill).
If you are writing to your senator, ask them to co-sponsor S. 3616 (the Senate bill).



Dear Senator/Representative NAME: 
I am writing to ask you to support the adoption tax credit by becoming a cosponsor of S. 3616/H.R. 4373. The adoption tax credit is set to expire on December 31, 2012. Since 1997, the adoption tax credit has helped tens of thousands of parents offset the high cost of adoption, making it possible for them to provide children with loving, permanent families. 
The adoption tax credit is especially important to me and my family because… (Share your personal story; tell Congress why you care about this credit. Your Members of Congress value your voice!) 
If Congress does not take action, the adoption tax credit as we know it will expire at the end of 2012. The credit will be reduced to $6,000, and will only benefit the few families that adopt children with special needs and have qualified adoption expenses. Most families adopting children from foster care, intercountry adoption, and domestic infant adoption will not receive any benefit. Without the adoption tax credit, many parents hoping to adopt will be unable to do so, and others will face great financial hardship. The adoption tax credit is essential to ensuring that as many children as possible find the forever families they deserve and ensuring that those families are in a more stable financial position to provide an environment where children can thrive. 
The adoption tax credit must be extended to help as many children as possible find the permanent, loving family they need and deserve. And for 2012 and future years it should be made refundable again so that most adoptive families will benefit from it. The best adoption tax credit would be permanent, refundable, inclusive of all types of adoption, and remain a “flat” credit for children with special needs. Enclosed, for your reference, is a factsheet with more information about the adoption tax credit. (Be sure to share the factsheet as a reference.) 
On behalf of the countless children waiting to be adopted, and the many thousands of families that stand to benefit from the adoption tax credit, thank you for your attention to this important issue. 
Sincerely, 
NAME
CITY, STATE
EMAIL ADDRESS / PHONE NUMBER



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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Mending the Heart


My husband, his father, Kay, and his sister this summer
I visited my father-in-law at the hospital last night.  Found out he got a clot taken out and 2 stints put in one artery.  Hopefully, that will do the trick.  I thought nothing was done, but they were saying nothing more can be done after what they already did.  I just didn't know they did anything!  

He was on a lot of morphine so finally the chest pains went away.  Of course he wants to go home, but he has to stay 3-5 days at the hospital.  He isn't allowed to drive for several weeks and he will be watched 24/7 for a few weeks as well.

That means my husband will move in with him for a while and his sister.  They'll take turns.  We haven't gotten the schedule all worked out yet, but it'll all be good.

Though it's been hard, I have hope and faith that everything is going to be all right.  I believe God has us on the right path and through Him whatever comes to pass can be handled.  We have a lot to look forward to.  It won't be an easy journey and we all miss Kay, but we celebrate having my father-in-law with us and that is what matters.
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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Heart


It's been a tough road for our family.  This year I found out my Grandmother's heart is majorly blocked, and she is too old for surgery.  She is tired a lot and we know to bless every day that we have with her.  It's been tough to think she could leave us, but we know how fragile life can be.

Then a month later my husband's mom, Kay, passed away from a 1 and a half year battle of cancer.  She went fairly fast and we weren't ready for her to go so soon.  However, she was very happy.  She had God with her and knew she was going to Heaven.  She felt truly blessed.  Though we know she is still with us, it's been very tough on her kids and grandchildren, but especially for her husband.

Still now he grieves hard for her and seems to still not believe all that happened a few months ago.  My husband does his best to keep him going, to get him to eat, and to live life.

Today we got a call, he is in the hospital.  He had a major heart attack!

We found out that one of his arteries is not flowing and the right ventricles are damaged and not working.  His other 2 arteries are about 30-40% blocked.

He is still in pain.  His chest pains are the focus right now.

However, the doctors said that there was nothing they could do for his heart.  Which may mean his tissue is dead, therefore they can't do anything.  Hopefully, there will be good medications prescribed for him.

I just hurt so much for my husband's family.  They lost a beloved mother and to have their father in physical and mental pain, they're crushed.  I know God is looking over us and the family.  But please pray to help his heart heal.  He needs to get healthy again and want to go on and find happiness beyond Kay whom he was married to for 50 years.  And I pray that his heart doesn't limit him that that he can have many years here with us on Earth.  I also pray that the family can heal as a whole.  It's been such a hard year.  The holidays are coming up and I know it's only going to get harder.

I also want to pray for my grandmother.  All these hearts, physically and mentally hurting.  I pray for healing!


"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."
Psalm 51:10 

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Golden Maneki Neko


My mom came by to visit today and had a little something for us when we put up our tree after Thanksgiving.  

It was  a Maneki Neko! I have a small one that was waiting for me (by accident) on my desk when I started my new job in January.  I've always liked them.  They sort of remind me of Hello Kitty.  It may be more Japanese, but I still like them and they make me smile... not to mention they remind me of Peyton who always has a paw up to grab anything shiny!  She is such a silly kitty!

Mom mentioned she tried to get one last year for me but they were all sold out. I guess they had them again this year and she ordered one for me.

Thanks mom for the sweet ornament!  I can't wait to hang it on our tree.


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Saturday, November 3, 2012

National Adoption Month


Each year, November is recognized as National Adoption Awareness Month. While all adoption-related issues are important, the particular focus of this month is the adoption of children currently in foster care.

The first major effort to promote awareness of the need for adoptive families for children in the foster care system occurred in Massachusetts. In 1976, then-Governor Mike Dukakis proclaimed Adoption Week and the idea grew in popularity and spread throughout the nation. President Gerald Ford made the first National Adoption Week proclamation, and in 1990, the week was expanded to a month due to the number of states participating and the number of events.

So I want to address this with you.  If you've adopted, great!  If you haven't, great!  No judgement.  But if nothing else those who have adopted and those who haven't, pay it forward.  November is about Thanksgiving.  Help those in foster care.

Please think about sponsoring a child.  Go to http://www.lovewithoutboundaries.com/sponsor-child/ and at least think about it.  Or look at each child and pray if you don't have the financial means.

We sponsor a child there and get monthly updates.  It's wonderful!  You will feel how you are truly making a difference.

Not everyone is called to adopt.  And those who are, wish they could do more.  There is so much hurt in the world.  And 1 person can make a difference for one person.  So if you don't already, see if you can help.  A one time contribution or sponsoring.  Pay it forward... and again, if you financially can't help, pray for them.

There are many ways to pay it forward.  Find another organization if this doesn't feel right to you, there are many countries with many children in need. We also sponsor through World Vision.  There are many avenues to go through. Help your local animal shelter if nothing else.  There are many charities to choose from.  I'm just giving one alternative.  But if you can find it in your heart, help those who need a future.
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Friday, November 2, 2012

Fielding Adoption Questions


I don't know why I'm always so surprised when I have to field questions about adoption.  I mean, the boundaries people cross when asking... it's always just surprises me.  You'd think I'd know better and learn from the "norm", which shouldn't be the norm.  But to even fan the flames of the point, I know it will only get worse and strangers will come up and ask similar if not more intruding questions about our transracial family when they see my daughter.

Anyhow, I read this on They're All My Own blog and had a really good laugh.  I wish I could say this back to anyone who was disturbing our family with uninvited questions.

And trust me, I love to talk about adoption.  I'm all for sharing, but to a point.  I don't want to talk about why China, why a girl, why not your own....  I do want to talk about expectations, nesting, and all the other fun things that every future mother likes to talk about.

I hope I can help with sensitivity awareness in things like this.  I just don't think I'm quick witted to do it correctly.  That's the sad part.  You hear these great stories or examples of what others say, think or do, and you can't remember a one when you're in a similar situation.  

I pray that in those future moments God will give me grace and wisdom to handle them in the best way in front of my child.
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Thursday, November 1, 2012

My First Gift from My Secret Pal!


I worked really late last night and came home exhausted.  I missed lunch and was ready to eat my way into the house, as I would be having a late dinner.  When I got home, my husband had a package for me that he found on our front steps, that he set on our kitchen table.  

The package was a large box.  On the corner of the box, where the return address was were the initials: Y.S.P. for "Your Secret Pal".  And then there was the CUTEST smiley face of a pirate girl on there.  (You gotta love the details!)
I immediately forgot my hunger and weariness and had to see what was inside!  It was so nice to get a treat for Halloween!!

Inside was Veggie Tales.  I got a pirate doll of Elliot, a puzzle of the 3 pirate Veggies, a DVD of 3 Veggie Tale movies, and card.  I love matching sets and things that go together, so I really appreciated how this had a whole pirate/veggie tale theme.  It was so cool!


My husband wanted to start watching the movies, but it's Ashton's first DVD, so we'll wait until she gets here and enjoy it all together.

The card was so sweet!  She totally got me! Her card read, "I saw these and could not resist a Pirate-y Care Package!  Ashton may have to grow into the puzzle, but she may love the plush and movie right away.  Praying you see a referral soon!"

I am thrilled you could not resist a pirate-y care package either!  My husband and I love them all!  We can't wait to share them with her!

Thank you so much for such a thoughtful gift!  It's very much appreciated!
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